Never Retreat Create Space_240 - front cover compressedTHIS LITTLE BOOK PIGGY GOES TO MARKET
A small press author tackles marketing on a tiny budget

As a writer of women’s fiction published by a small press, I’m continually challenged by marketing. Like the little piggy of the nursery rhyme, I don’t want to cry “wee-wee-wee” all the way home from a market place crowded with hundreds of thousands of books, all screaming for the reader’s attention. But neither my publisher nor I have large purses. Or bank accounts. So what can I do?

Marketing takes about fifty percent of a creator’s time, an artist once told me. Other experts ballpark the time at one-third of the hours you spend writing. In any case, writing a book is only the first step. Once you sign with a publisher, you can be sure your workload will skyrocket.

For those of us with more energy and hours than money, the first step in marketing is to determine your writing genre. What type of tales do you enjoy? In your heart have you always wished you could be a cowboy? A spy? A sexy lover? Are you still a child? Somewhat intellectual? If so, you probably read and write in a genre like children’s books, westerns, mystery, romance, or literary.  Publishing is defined by specialized categories of book, which also identify readers by age, gender, interest, locale. These seem to become more targeted by the week. The process helps greatly in marketing books as you try to insure readership.

Determining a genre enables you to take the next step: locating people who specialize in the genre who might spread the news about your work. This means an internet search. My work is women’s fiction of the light romance variety, so I shift through hundreds of book bloggers and review sites on that topic. There are some sites that centralize many bloggers for easy access. Two of them are Book Blogger Listing ( and Book Blogger List. (

Each blogger has his or her own requirements. Most expect an advance reader copy (also known as an ARC) as well as organized details (fact sheet anyone?), a cover image, author’s image, author’s biography, a book overview or blurb, and publication information. If you’re hoping for a big internet splash right on publication date, you’re thrown into a chicken-vs-the-egg situation. How can you send out a link for purchases if the book hasn’t been published yet? My decision was to spread out my promotion over the period of several weeks, scheduling blog submissions according to the blogger’s deadline.

Another decision: don’t get discouraged by the sheer volume of potential sites. As I faced literally hundreds upon hundreds, my enthusiasm dissipated to intense depression. Then I recalled the words of Edward Everett Hale. “I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” To evaluate what ones to approach, my publisher suggested looking over numbers of comments on a blogger’s site. More comments equal more readers of the blog.

Review sites also exist, some of them free, many of them paid. The really big reviewers, like Library Journalor Publisher’s Weekly, rarely take small or independent publishers’ products, and I believe they’re not worth chasing. If you’re lucky enough to have local media that still carries book reviews, don’t overlook this blessing. You can spend a fortune tracking down review sites that charge. If you have the time, inclination, and money, you might try a few at a time, tracking numbers of sales after each paid review as an evaluation.

 The line between blogs and reviews is hazy in my mind, but it’s worth a search for the more specialized areas. Again, genre is good place to start, and there are sites that aggregate other review sites. For example, mystery writers can visit L. J. Sellers pages to find a list that will reduce your hours of research ( Be aware that many review sites want a pitch and ARCs up to four months in advance.

If you’re small, you’ve got to be tough and creative. Allow yourself some brain time to mull over your contacts and off-the-wall ideas. Here are some I’m considering:

·         Send notices to every group I’m affiliated with and ask them to put a notice about my book in their newsletter, Face Book, or elist. Yes, I’ll send to my local romance group. But I’ll also see if my city councilman’s monthly news would carry my information.

·         Tailor the notice to the group’s interest. My city councilman features local businesses and interesting people. I qualify as both. I don’t expect him to simply run a puff-piece. I’ll insert a hook that applies to the neighborhood.

·         Social media, social media, social media. I get sick of 20 tweets a day from the same author with a new release. However, I’ve had to resign myself to some social media. An author’s Facebook page is free, as are several popular social media sites. If you’re new to the game, try just a few at first.

·         Give-aways and contests are popular with romance authors. I’m still feeling my way, so I haven’t done much of this. You might start with Good Reads give-aways because they’re easy enough that I’ve done them.

·         Ask friends and connections to push your book on their social media. Be sure to provide ready-made news release and publication information.

B 1 edited CU- Copy[Bonnie McCune’s newest women’s novel, Never Retreat, is being published March 2018. A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership. Read more about the book and the author at]

Never Retreat Create Space_240 - front cover compressedNEVER RETREAT by Bonnie McCune / Women’s Fiction / Released March 15, 2018 by Imajin Books

A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.

Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid.

Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.

See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple, Raye and Des, face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.


978-1-77223-350-6 Kindle ebook

978-1-77223-351-3 Trade paperback


New Release: HOW TO BE YOURSELF by Ellen Hendriksen

41I3vLSswJLHOW TO BE YOURSELF by Ellen Hendriksen / Self-Help / Released March 13, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Picking up where Quiet ended, How to Be Yourself is the best book you’ll ever read about how to conquer social anxiety.

“This book is also a groundbreaking road map to finally being your true, authentic self.” —Susan Cain, New York TimesUSA Today and nationally bestselling author of Quiet

Up to 40% of people consider themselves shy. You might say you’re introverted or awkward, or that you’re fine around friends but just can’t speak up in a meeting or at a party. Maybe you’re usually confident but have recently moved or started a new job, only to feel isolated and unsure.

If you get nervous in social situations—meeting your partner’s friends, public speaking, standing awkwardly in the elevator with your boss—you’ve probably been told, “Just be yourself!” But that’s easier said than done—especially if you’re prone to social anxiety.

Weaving together cutting-edge science, concrete tips, and the compelling stories of real people who have risen above their social anxiety, Dr. Ellen Hendriksen proposes a groundbreaking idea: you already have everything you need to succeed in any unfamiliar social situation. As someone who lives with social anxiety, Dr. Hendriksen has devoted her career to helping her clients overcome the same obstacles she has. With familiarity, humor, and authority, Dr. Hendriksen takes the reader through the roots of social anxiety and why it endures, how we can rewire our brains through our behavior, and—at long last—exactly how to quiet your Inner Critic, the pesky voice that whispers, “Everyone will judge you.” Using her techniques to develop confidence, think through the buzz of anxiety, and feel comfortable in any situation, you can finally be your true, authentic self.

New Release: THE MERRY SPINSTER by Mallory Ortberg

THE MERRY SPINSTER:  Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg / Released March 13, 2018 by Henry Holt and Co.

From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from her beloved “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, “The Merry Spinster” takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and her best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. The feature has become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg’s boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg’s oeuvre will delight in her unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Bed time will never be the same.

Review: LET ME LIE by Clare Macintosh

51qKW0ZB+0L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_LET ME LIE by Clare Macintosh / Psychological thriller / Released March 13 by Berkley

The police say it was suicide.

Anna says it was murder.

They’re both wrong.

Last year, Tom and Caroline Johnson chose to end their lives, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents’ deaths, unwilling to accept the verdict of suicide.

Now with a baby herself, Anna feels her mother’s absence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as she digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her.

Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie….


“Death does not suit me. I wear it like a borrowed coat; it slips off my shoulders and trailes in the dirt. It is ill fitting. Uncomfortable.”

Thus begins one of the most intriguing books I have read in a long time. LET ME LIE is like traveling a mountain road with twists and turns continually rising to a peak where, finally, all becomes clear.

I definitely recommend this is a gasp-worthy, page-turning journey of a daughter as she searches for the truth about the parents she was certain she knew.

I received a complimentary copy from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

New Release: IN SIGHT OF STARS by Gae Polisner

51z8gqDkaELIN SIGHT OF STARS by Gae Polisner / YA / Released March 13, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Gae Polisner blew critics away with her poignant and breathtaking novel The Memory of Things in 2016. This March she returns with IN SIGHT OF STARS a coming-of-age young adult novel about a teenage boy trying to pick up the pieces of his life after the unthinkable happens.  Polisner delves into the hard issue of mental illness with beautiful prose and unrivaled deftness. “An achingly fierce exploration of the way the world wounds us and heals us.

If you love exquisitely written coming-of-age stories that will leave you breathless, In Sight of Stars is for you.” – Jeff Zentner, William C. Morris award-winning author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days

New Release: DEATH AL FRESCO by Leslie Karst

51EWedWHb8LDEATH AL FRESCO by Leslie Karst / Cozy Mystery / Released March 13, 2018 by Crooked Lane Books

Acclaimed novelist Leslie Karst puts a sensational spin on the culinary cozy caper with her latest mystery, Death al Fresco.  In Death al Fresco, lawyer-turned-restaurateur protagonist Sally Solari faces a catastrophic culinary conundrum.  When her father is fingered for murder, it’s up to Sally to serve up the real killer before their family restaurant’s reputation goes up in smoke.

About Death al Fresco: It’s early autumn in Santa Cruz and restaurateur Sally Solari, inspired by the eye-popping canvases of Paul Gauguin, the artist for whom her restaurant is named, decides to enroll in a plein air painting class. But the beauty of the Monterey Bay coastline is shattered during one of their outings when Sally’s dog, Buster, sniffs out a corpse entangled in a pile of kelp. The body is identified as Gino, a local fisherman and a regular at Sally’s father’s restaurant, Solari’s—until he disappeared after dining there a few nights before. Witnesses claim he left reeling drunk, but his waitress swears the old man had only two beers with his meal. And then the fingers begin to point at Sally’s dad for negligently allowing an inebriated customer to walk home alone at night. From a long menu of suspects, including a cast of colorful characters who frequent the historic Santa Cruz fisherman’s wharf, Sally must serve up the tall order of clearing her father’s name—before it’s too late…

Smart and charming, fun and lively, intelligent and irresistible, Death al Fresco is a delicious tale peppered with wit, charm, and a to-die-for plot.  In Death al Fresco, Leslie Karst serves up a tantalizing new tale that also includes mouthwatering recipes.  

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. An ex-lawyer like Sally Solari, her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. Leslie and her wife, Robin, divide their time between Santa Cruz, California and Hilo, Hawaii. Leslie Karst is also the author of Dying for a Taste, and A Measure of Murder.  Visit Leslie Karst online at:

New Release: THE PURLOINED PUZZLE by Parnell Hall

51cRk29zaaLTHE PURLOINED PUZZLE by Parnell Hall / Mystery / Released March 13, 2018 by Minotaur Books

Amateur sleuth and crossword impresario Cora Felton is asked to solve a puzzle, only to find that it’s been stolen—and a murder weapon has been left in its place.

When the obnoxious sixteen-year-old Peggy Dawson asks Cora Felton to solve a puzzle for her, Cora is delighted to find that the puzzle has been stolen. She is less delighted, however, when a blood-stained knife is found in its place.

Soon a body is discovered in the middle of Main Street, and Cora has a murder investigation on her hands. It does not help matters when she hears that her least favorite ex-husband, Melvin, is in town pulling a real estate scam, particularly when she discovers that Melvin may have purchased the knife. Now it’s up to the Puzzle Lady to figure out what really happened.